The Scientific Ranking of SummerSlams Part 2

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Welcome back to the Scientific Ranking of SummerSlam! If you haven’t already please check out part 1 here! Here we go with round two!

SummerSlam has been the biggest party of the summer for going on twenty-seven years now. It has been home to classic matches, unforgettable moments and countless HHH returns. Countless columns have been written ranking the Wrestlemanias but few have tackled the far less interesting, but often better, Summerslams. So I decided to tackle this one with a different slant. WITH SCIENCE!!!

Here’s how it works: I re-watched every SummerSlam, EVERY SINGLE GOD DAMN MINUTE of these things and ranked all the matches (save for the Sherri/Sapphire forfeit). There have been 216 illustrious matches in the history of this… illustrious event. The 1st place match was awarded 216 point, the 2nd 215, the 216th 1 point… you get the idea. I toyed around with the idea of averaging out the scored for each individual SummerSlam but the more I looked at it the more I started to believe that cards deserved to be punished for doing C-Lo Green concerts and weddings instead of matches. Then I looked at the intangibles. I ranked each show in five important categories:

Commentary – We spend the whole show with these guys so they better be good.

Main Event- That which the show was built on should get a few more points if it delivers.

Best Moment – Matches aren’t all that count, sometimes a great segment or angle can greatly enhance a show.

Crowd – A great crowd can make a good show great, while a poor crowd can suck the energy out of everyone.

Opener – The first impression you get for a given show can go a long way towards how you remember it.

So seeing as there have been twenty seven Summerslams to this point, each show was ranked 1 to 27 in each of the preceding categories. Again 1st place received 27 points, 27th 1 point and so on and so forth. It became clear the deeper we got in the rankings that the points won and lost with these intangibles actually moved some SummerSlams up and down the list.

So the complicated formula for this series is (Cumulative points for all the matches on the show) + (Commentary, Main Event, Best Moment, Crowd &Opener Scores) = Final score which is used to rank the Summerslams SCIENTIFICALLY!

I totally gave myself up to the project and didn’t check big picture until the final day where I added everything up. I just ranked the matches as they came and in no way tried to taint the process by playing favorites with certain cards. The results were… extremely interesting. It was a different process to look at a whole show instead of focusing on just the best parts. The bad matches should matter as much, we have to sit through those too. In the end, sure everything is just my opinion here but I’m the leader in the field of sitting down and watching Summerslams back to back wasting my summer. Yes, I’m the only one involved in ranking the matches… but hey, it’s science.

#20

SUMMERSLAM 2003

August 24th 2003, Phoenix Arizona

2003

Goldberg should have won,

What’s with those bicycle shorts?

Hey, fuck you Phoenix.

Total Points: 824

The Matches

1. La Resistance (c) d. The Dudley Boyz – World Tag Team Titles
RANK:   135/216                POINTS: 82
2. The Undertaker d. A-Train
Rank:     163/216                POINTS: 54
3. Shane McMahon d. Eric Bischoff – Falls Count Anywhere
RANK:   171/216                POINTS: 46
4. Eddie Guerrero (c) d. Chris Benoit, Rhyno, Tajiri – WWE US Title
RANK:   41/216                  POINTS: 176
5. Kurt Angle (c) d. Brock Lesnar – WWE Title
RANK:   49/216                  POINTS: 168
6. Kane d Rob Van Dam
RANK:   151/216                POINTS: 66
7. Triple H (c) d. Goldberg, Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash – World Heavyweight Title Elimination Chamber
RANK:   46/216                  POINTS: 171

Commentary                     RANK:   15/27     POINTS: 13
JR, King, Cole and Tazz all have a rough night. JR and King miss calling tons of stuff. They miss the camera man interference, they miss Kane dodging a chair and Ross can’t tell Shawn Michaels from Chris Jericho. Michael how does a lunatic fringe pour out of someone? Holy shit Brock Lesnar is the origin of that lame moniker! The great commentary decline has begun!

Main Event                         RANK:   11/27     POINTS: 17
Even in the graphic for the match Goldberg is almost in the background. This is actually a really good match with the worst finish imaginable. Nash is terrible but he’s hardly in there while Michaels and Jericho put on a clinic and all the Goldberg stuff is wonderful. It certainly didn’t feel its length. Did I mention it has a bad finish?

Greatest Moment                RANK:   6/27       POINTS: 22
Goldberg kills everyone dead and then destroys HHH’s pod. Had he won the match we’d be talking about the greatest moment ever probably.

Crowd                                 RANK:   27/27     POINTS: 1
Really hot for the opener, Shane/Eric and Goldberg but not much else. Virtually no noise at all on most people’s entrances. They actually made the show feel very small -time as only a select few guys got any reaction.

Opener                             RANK:   20/27     POINTS: 8
The Dudleys are pretty tired here but they work a halfway decent match with La Res. The jingoism is on full display with Bubba waving the flag and I’m quite surprised the Frenchmen won. Do these guys not know how to book an opener?

Best Match: The four way match for the US Title tops the list here. It’s a sprint that sees Eddie hiding and cheating until he walks away the winner. Remember when there were mid-card guys everyone cared about?

Worst Match: Shane McMahon and Eric Bischoff stink up the joint in McEgo-Fest 2003. I really get uncomfortable watching Bischoff get tossed around and beaten by somebody who’s not a trained wrestler. He needs to be protected in there. It degenerates to Coach turning and doing commentary before becoming a two-on-one beatdown, which of course Shane valiantly survives. Austin makes the save and we get a comedy hour at the end. And it feels like an hour. What a waste. Hey wasn’t Shane feuding with Kane? Eh fuck that, we need every McMahon to get one over on Bischoff, that’ll teach him for succeeding.

Sneaky Underrated Match: The main event is underrated because of the terrible finish. And it is terrible, but if you give it a shot knowing you’re going to be disappointed you may be pleasantly surprised.

Biggest Pop: Austin interrupting the awful “match” and his stunner on Eric were both pretty loud.

Most Heat: Coach’s turn really upset some people. I’m not sure why. It’s not like it’s Ricky Steamboat turning heel.

Best Interview/Skit: All the Bischoff backstage stuff I guess. It was a weak night for promos. He was truly great in his role as smarmy GM.

Worst Interview/Skit: Bubba demanding if Coach is anti American and saying that people who don’t like America suck. You have no idea how dumb that sounds if you’re not an American. Perhaps it’s sounds as dumb if you are, I have no point of reference besides loving Jim Duggan and being excited whenever I see an eagle.

Best Booking: Guerrero retaining the title.

Worst Booking: There’s so much here. The Dudleys (do I put a z for the plural??? Who knows…) not winning seems like a poor decision, all of Shane and Bischoff, Shane not facing Kane instead, turning Brock heel, Face Stephanie McMahon it’s all bad. The worst though is Goldberg not winning. They had the chance to make a mega star and create an all time moment and they chose to placate HHH’s ego instead. At least it’s the only time ego got in the way of business… Sorry I can’t even write that with a straight face.

Best Attire: Vince McMahon’s summer shirt and track pants. With a killer tan!!!

Worst Attire: Kevin Nash with his short hair, hunched walk and wearing an old Diesel singlet. If I was producing the life story of “Old Man Winter,” this is who I’d call.

Best Little Moment: Lesnar selling his leg injury by performing the F5 hopping on one leg. That’s commitment to selling!

Funniest Moment: Flair’s fit on the outside of the ring when HHH is kicked by Michaels followed by him blocking the gate for Goldberg while leaning on the barricade and giving him the finger. Perhaps the best middle finger at Summerslam since The Mountie got raped.

This Is Wrestling Clap Clap Clap: All of Angle and Lesnar’s mat based stuff. While their match was a step down from their previous encounters, they both sure know how to chain wrestle.

Please sir, no more: Stephanie and Shane booked as top babyfaces.

Biggest Botch: Goldberg tripping of course.

3 Random Thoughts:

It’s telling that the crowd was most alive for the match with non-wrestlers.

Man they killed Tajiri’s heat. Think back to his old pops.

How believable are repeated sledge hammer shots? He would be dead.

Why it’s number 20: We would be talking about a much higher ranked Summerslam had the pulled the trigger on Goldberg and put Shane McMahon in a match with the guy he was actually feuding with. The main event would have ranked higher with a better finish (I still think the match as-is is pretty great) and we’d be spared the McMahon/Bischoff clusterfuck. Not to mention you’d free up RVD to be in there with someone motivated. You do just that and you probably get another easy 100 points. Then maybe the crowd gets better too… I could go on and on, but it’s not like this thing was a chore to sit through but it’s completely indicative of the booking deficiencies of the early 2000’s.

 

#19

SUMMERSLAM 90

August 27th 1990 Philadelphia

1990

Large man in bright dots,

Loses his lover and friend,

Was that caged rat dead?

Total Points: 838

The Matches

1. Power & Glory d. The Rockers
RANK:   43/216                  POINTS: 174
2. The Texas Tornado d. Mr. Perfect (c) – Intercontinental Title
Rank:     168/216                POINTS: 49
3. Queen Sherri d. Sapphire NOT COUNTED
RANK:   ****                     POINTS:****
4. The Warlord d. Tito Santana
RANK:   179/216                POINTS: 38
5. The Hart Foundation d. Demolition (c) – WWF Tag Team Titles 2/3 Falls
RANK: 103/216                  POINTS: 114
6. Jake Roberts d. Bad News Brown by Disqualification
RANK:   211/216                POINTS: 6
7. Nikolai Volkoff & Jim Duggan d. The Orient Express
RANK:   175/216                POINTS: 42
8. Randy Savage d. Dusty Rhodes
RANK:   167/216                POINTS: 50
9. Hulk Hogan d. Earthquake by Countout
RANK:   74/216                  POINTS: 143
10. The Ultimate Warrior (c) d. Ravishing Rick Rude – WWF Title Steel Cage Match
RANK:   50/216                  POINTS: 167

Commentary                     RANK:   19/27     POINTS: 9
Where to begin on this one… Piper was not ready to call a PPV. His obscure references were completely lost on Vince as the owner clearly lives in a bubble and has no idea who Mick Jagger, David Bowie or Rachel Perry are. Come to think of it I have no idea where he was going with a Rachel Perry reference. Typical Piper all over the place. He also tells the wrong stories in the ring. It’s like he’s forcing his will over what the performers are doing. Either that or he’s just plain not watching. Telling the Rockers they were ill prepared for the match after they’ve been ambushed with a chain is a severe lack of understanding for what’s unfolding before your eyes. His taunts for Michaels to get up help no one get over. I guess that’s the difference from years prior: even at their worst the commentators always put everyone over. Piper seems as lost as Lord Alfred Hayes trying to sound excited about the ring crew setting a record setting up the cage. Vince is also not at his best here. He proves himself to be the worst improv partner in the world as he ignores or outright shuts down most ideas that Piper had. At one point Piper asks Vince what the combined IQ of Volkoff and Duggan are to which Vince replies, “It doesn’t matter!” The whole night could have been helped with them working together a little more.

Main Event                        RANK:   14/27     POINTS: 14
Totally decent cage match, but probably the worst outing for Warrior and Rude together. Not brutal or intense enough for what they were going for and the ending felt very anti-climatic. Some of the blame for that has to go on the booking as Rude was never really presented as a very strong challenger. I’m of the mind that Warrior should have been fighting Earthquake here. If you want him to be your new top face you should probably book him with your top heel.

Greatest Moment             RANK:   21/27     POINTS: 7
The Legion of Doom coming out to help the Harts win the match completely redeems all the awful promos about two Harts beating as one.

Crowd                              RANK:   24/27     POINTS: 4
Into the show the entire night. They popped for all the right guys, but in typical Philly fashion popped for a lot of the heels too. Then again who wouldn’t pop for Savage against the guy banging the grandma? My favorite fan though is the old guy marking the fuck out to Kerry Von Erich using the claw.

Opener                            RANK:   7/27       POINTS: 21
I really loved the story they told here. Not to mention that Jannetty is excellent against both Hercules and Roma. It’s quick, fun (if you like seeing guys get hurt) and popped the crowd while getting over a new team in a monster way.

Best Match: This is a bit out of left field, but I think I have to go with The Rockers vs. Power & Glory. It told a great little story, looked brutal but all the while Jannetty put up a good enought fight to let us believe he may pull it out. Plus we got to see the power plex before Hulk decided it was a good idea to kick out of it at one. What a dick. I do really like the match but it’s a pretty major indictment of the card that it’s number one here.

Worst Match: Supposed great worker who never delivers on PPV? Check. Angry black man with a propensity for walking out on his team? Check. Snakes? Check. Sewer rats? Check. Fat police officer in a hat way too small for his head… you get the idea. This was awful, slow and they didn’t even bother to give it a finish. At the very least they should have released the rats into the audience for having the audacity to not boo Volkoff and Duggan singing America The Beautiful. You’re better than that Philadelphia!

Sneaky Underrated Match: It was quick but I totally could have dealt with a longer match between Savage and Dusty. Just two guys who get it and know how to tell a great story. Instead what we have was a decent little encounter taken over by the story of the night. A story of avarice of the highest degree. No wonder her son went nuts and became Stardust.

Biggest Pop: I wanted to give this to one of the title changes but it’s hands down Hogan’s entrance. For everyone yelling for him to go away, shut up for a minute and consider the fans who threw snowballs at Santa Claus cheered for Hogan like they were all ten. That leads to an interesting question. Who’s a bigger face? Hogan or Santa? And should we throw Lavarr Burton from Reading Rainbow in the mix? Triple Threat match?

Most Heat: Earthquake. The people were mad he squished Hogan. They were ever more upset he murdered Kate Smith.

Best Interview/Skit: It’s got to be the night long story of Sapphire betraying big Dust. You get the concerned promo from Dusty to start the show followed by Hacksaw re-assuring Dust that everyone is looking for her. If that wasn’t enough the turn itself is good as is Dusty chasing the limousine dressed in a polka dot speedo. I like to picture him running through the streets of Philadelphia after the limo, a crowd follows him to the steps of the art museum which he proudly climbs before collapsing from a combined heart/depression attack. As he weeps in the rain Savage blindsides him and continues to pummel him. He tosses his back down the stairs until his beaten husk is left dead in the streets, a chilling reminder of what happens when we fly too close to the sun. Also Dusty’s last promo where he gets mad is great. “She repaid me in scorn,” is a great rallying cry for men everywhere.

Worst Interview/Skit: Look the Hart Foundation interviews are bad. Really bad. Two Harts beating as one is shit. Neidhart repeating “against all odds” is infuriating. Nikolai stating that Duggan is his idol and the both of them proceeding to destroy an American classic are unforgivable. As is Mr. Fuji’s racist parody of a Japanese man that we can barely understand. However none of those are given nearly as much time as Brother Love receiving the greatest American award from Sgt. Slaughter. It’s fucking interminable. Please stop doing these things at Summerslam.

Best Booking: The way they hid Shawn Michaels’ injury while making another top tier team. The one foot pin is sensational.

Worst Booking: The whole brusiness of people not being able to tell Demolition apart. Come on guys I was ten years old and I could tell Ax and Smash apart. Suddenly it’s a thing we’re all supposed to be on board with? It made Vince and Piper look like fools, and it made Bret and Jim look like idiots. You’ve fought these guys hundreds of times. You cant tell who’s who???? Also: they look NOTHING ALIKE. One has long hair, one has short hair! Jesus Christ this Fucking Company!!!

Best Attire: Rude’s tights are amazing as usual, but I’m going with Sensational Queen Sherri: Weird Sex Witch Cat.

Worst Attire: Tito Santana need to stop wearing his Strike Force outfit. It’s been over a year, let it go Tito.

Best Little Moment: I love, love, love how all the heels know something’s up with Sapphire and it’s presented under “So the rumor must be true.” I’m always a fan of the heel locker room being in cahoots.

Funniest Moment: As much shit as I gave him above, it’s Piper. When the limo pulls away from Rhodes, Vince remarks that Dusty should have gotten there sooner. Piper replies, ” What would he have done if he’d gotten there sooner, laid down in front of the car?” I don’t know why but I’m still laughing at it.

This Is Wrestling Clap Clap Clap: Jim Duggan made a tag team match with Nikolai Volkoff watchable, and dare I say, even fun. He clobbers those foreigners for the whole U.S. of A.

Please sir, no more: Nikolai Volkoff. You insincere piece of shit.

Biggest Botch: The Snake is clearly trying to kill Jake as he gives his pre match promo. Then it acts like a dick in the ring. Then again what else can you expect when its senses probably feel like they’re all exploding. Poor asshole snake. Plus he has to put up with Jake. Jesus imagine how many times Jake sat drunk or stoned in a hotel room and poured his heart out to Damien. Having to sit through that sadness night in and night out. Would it have surprised anyone had that snake hung himself in the shower? I feel like this has gone off the rails into a deep, dark place (not Africa).

3 Random Thoughts:

What does Slick have to offer his guys as advice? What expertise is he pulling from that would be useful for a man wrestling another man?

I think the whole Earthquake murdering Hogan angle should be used as exhibit A when trying to discredit Jimmy Hart years later when he says managing Hogan was a “Dream come true.”

How bad was the refereeing tonight? The Hogan match had four guys in the ring a bunch of times on top of the ref’s shirt being inexplicably torn to pieces by Hogan. Seriously why did he take it upon himself to tear Earl Hebner’s shirt. It had never happened before or since so it’s not like it was a thing.

Why it’s number 19: It’s a very average card with a few memorable angles on it. It gets a bit of a bump for pumping out ten matches over the course of three hours, but having to listen to a mad man ramble for those three hours more than keeps if from the top. I will say this, although there was quite a bit of crap, it was always kind of fun to watch. It’s a neat little time capsule of the era and I wouldn’t’ begrudge anyone if they had it higher on their lists. Boy did they ever mess up Warrior’s title reign though.

 

#18

SUMMERSLAM 88

August 29th, 1988 New York City

88

Rick Rude bangs Jake’s wife

Honky Tonk Man gets destroyed,

Dino on steroids?

Total Points: 857

The Matches

1. The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers DRAW The British Bulldogs
RANK:   62/216                  POINTS: 155
2. Bad News Brown d. Ken Patera
Rank:     212/216                POINTS: 5
3. Rick Rude d. The Junk Yard Dog by DQ
RANK:   194/216                POINTS: 23
4. The Powers Of Pain d. The Bolsheviks
RANK:   178/216                POINTS: 39
5. The Ultimate Warrior d. The Honk Tonk Man (c) – Intercontinental Title
RANK:   23/216                  POINTS: 194
6. Dino Bravo d. Don Muraco
RANK:   203/216                POINTS: 14
7. Demolition(c) d. The Hart Foundation – WWF Tag Team Titles
RANK:   166/216                POINTS: 51
8. The Big Boss Man d. Koko B Ware
RANK:   186/216                POINTS: 31
9. Jake Roberts d. Hercules
RANK:   138/216                POINTS:79
10. The Mega Powers d. The Mega Bucks
RANK:   45/216                  POINTS: 194

Commentary                     RANK:   13/27     POINTS: 15
You know, I expected this to be a lot worse. When you hear Superstar Billy Graham rambling, you imagine steroids and depression. However, if you can get by a liberal use of the word literally, and about a hundred thousand “brothers” you’ll see that Gorilla and Billy do a pretty solid job of putting over all the talent and storylines on the show. The talk a ton about the rules, chastise guys for not hooking the leg and go on and on about what an idiot The Honky Tonk Man is. When Gorilla finally nails a legitimate use of literally you’re completely ready to forgive him for saying the nightstick weighs 25 pounds.

Main Event                        RANK:   10/27     POINTS: 18
It’s exactly what it’s supposed to be. The four biggest stars in an exciting and important match. Looking back it may seem bland to think that the title wasn’t on the line, but at the time this was a HUGE deal and all four guys busted their asses to make it work. Jesse is great as the referee and I always loved his bias bleeding out as he consistently screamed at Hogan but spoke calmly to everyone else. Sure today we’ve been spoiled/blessed with diva’s removing tops, pants and dignity but again, at the time, Liz stripping down was huge. Just a really fun main event which made the whole show feel like a big deal.

Greatest Moment              RANK:   1/27       POINTS: 27
Easily the Warrior crushing Honky. It’s iconic and was a perfect payoff to Honkey’s months of hell he put us through. It ranks as the greatest Summerslam moment of all time not only for it’s perfection but because it’s justice.

Crowd                               RANK:   13/27     POINTS: 15
Wonderful crowd through out. They even got behind a Ken Patera come back. THAT’s how hot they were. Plus the cop from the Village People was in the front row all night.

Opener                               RANK:   9/27       POINTS: 19
Do you like tag team wrestling? Do you like time limit draws? If you don’t then fuck you.

Best Match: While not a workrate classic, I can’t go with anything other than Ultimate Warrior Vs. Honky Tonk Man. It’s perfect in its execution. Was it a technical marvel like the Rougeaus and Bulldogs? No, but the crowd was certainly more into it, and it certainly had much farther reaching historical significance.

Worst Match: Ken Patera and Bad News Brown are awful. For the love of god Ken cut that hair.

Sneaky Underrated Match: Jake against Hercules was surprisingly quick paced and fun. I always like fit Hercules, before he was freed from bondage and got lazy. Heenan knew how to keep his guys on their toes, as evidenced by Herc’s weight gain after his liberation. He was nimble and Jake was game. I’d dare say this may be Jake’s best PPV match ever?

Biggest Pop: Warrior crushing Honky is one of the biggest pops of all time.

Most Heat: The crowd was scared of Andre every time he was in the ring.

Best Interview/Skit: It’s a two-parter, but Honky’s supreme confidence in wanting to be surprised as he claims he’s a humanitarian is wonderfully countered after his loss by him stating he wanted to fight a man and not a Warrior. Just great chickenshit-eating grin stuff from Honky.

Worst Interview/Skit: Brother Love interviews Hacksaw. Were there no other matches that could have been made here?

Best Booking: Ultimate Warrior’s title win is perfectly booked.

Worst Booking: Not having Rude fight Jake, but still doing the bit where Rude has his wife on his pants. Either do the match or don’t.

Best Attire: Ravishing Rick Rude’s JYD tights.

Worst Attire: The Big Boss Man needs a bigger shirt. The belly is protruding in the least subtle way possible.

Best Little Moment: I’ve always loved Jake apologizing to JYD for costing him the match by disqualification. Close second though would be Savage catching Elizabeth hugging Hulk and planting the subtle seed of jealousy.

Funniest Moment: Maybe because I’m from Quebec, but the Rougeaus screaming at each other in French always gets me. I live with these people.

This Is Wrestling Clap Clap Clap: Bulldogs and Rougeaus go to a draw which isn’t boring for a single second.

Please sir, no more: Ken Patera. It’s time Ken.

Biggest Botch: Ken Patera and Bad News just can’t seem to make an Irish whip to the corner work.

3 Random Thoughts:

How many fucking animals are on this show???? I suppose it doesn’t help my enjoyment when I see Matilda looking like she’s on the verge of suicide sitting on the apron.

Why is the cop partnered with the pimp?

During the Ultimate Warrior’s victory speech he’s seen in a room full of faces celebrating. The camera zooms in on his face, and when it zooms out the faces were all gone. Did they all just leave the party? Or were they just confused/excited/laughing about the spaceship?

Why it’s number 18: This one soars on a great main event and the greatest murder of an Elvis impersonator ever broadcast on pay per view. Sure the Patera match is horrible and Rude/JYD will make you long for the salt mines but all in all it’s an easy show to sit through. Amazing that glorified MSG house show would finish ahead of nice other “supercards.” sometimes the simple things are really what’s best. Well not best… 18th, but you get the idea…

 

#17

SUMMERSLAM 2008

August 17th 2008, Indianapolis Indiana

2008John Cena goes down,

Don’t bring your wife to wrestling,

Michael Cole die please?

Total Points: 864

The Matches

1. MVP d. Jeff Hardy
RANK:   70/216                  POINTS: 147
2. Santino Marella/Beth Phoenix d. Kofi Kingston ©/ Mickie James © – Intercontinental/Women’s Title
Rank:     108/216                POINTS: 109
3. Matt Hardy d. Mark Henry © by DQ – ECW Title
RANK:   191/216               POINTS: 26
4. CM Punk © d. JBL – World Heavyweight Title
RANK: 78/216                    POINTS: 139
5. Triple H © d. The Great Khali – WWE Title
RANK: 196/216                  POINTS: 21
6. Batista d. John Cena
RANK: 24/216                    POINTS: 193
7. The Undertaker d. Edge – Hell In A Cell
RANK:   58/216                  POINTS: 159

 

Commentary                     RANK: 20/27       POINTS: 8
So we get JR saddled with Tazz and the seemingly eternal Michael Cole/Jerry Lawler combination. Todd Grisham and Matt Striker are not even announced but just show up for the ECW title match… all ten seconds of it… Everyone tries really hard to make a Michael Phelps connection repeatedly throughout the night. Cole really pushes his idiotic “controlled frenzy” nickname about a million times. What the fuck is a controlled frenzy Michael? You can’t just mash word together and call it a sentence! There is literally nothing behind Todd Grisham’s voice. Like he’s totally devoid of any human emotion. It doesn’t help that Cole is the fakest faker that ever faked. His “JBL called CM Punk’s title reign and I quote ladies and gentlemen: pathetic,” enrages me more every second I think about it. Lawler adds nothing now except for lame jokes. At one point he says, “That was a near fall.” Thanks Jerry. I’m begging Michael Cole to stop saying “shoots the half,” but instead we get it every match. Cole also starts his annoying trend of just screaming one word into the mic. “Cena! Cena! Cena! HE KICKED OUT!!!” It wasn’t even a close near fall. I hate Michael Cole.

Main Event                         RANK:   16/27     POINTS: 12
It’s really very good but there’s a little too much wandering around between big moves for my taste. That being said it’s possibly the most satisfying face revenge match ever and Undertaker doing all of Edge’s trademark dickery before finishing him off is a nice touch.

Greatest Moment               RANK:   7/27       POINTS: 21
The entire Shawn Michael and Chris Jericho confrontation was amazing. As if “Tell the world you’re leaving because of me,” and “Tell your kids you’ll never be Shawn Michaels,” weren’t good enough; the punch to the face of Shawn’s wife and the hate filled staredown are what wrestling is all about.

Crowd                                 RANK:   16/27     POINTS: 12
Man that crowd was really into the whole Shawn Michaels bit. They bite hard on his retirement and are whipped into a frenzy for his wife. Probably helps that it’s his real wife who we never see. They’re consistently hot for the rest of the night, peaking during Cena and Batista which is fine considering it was the hottest match.

Opener                                RANK:   11/27     POINTS: 17
MVP and Jeff Hardy get how to start a blood feud. No lock ups just hate and brawling. They have great intensity and MVP uses some interesting submissions which he intelligently slides in and out of all the while trying to win the match. Strong face performance from Hardy here too.

Best Match: Batista versus Cena has an incredible big match feel. This one still got me caught up in it years after the fact. Sure Cena’s STF still looks like nothing, but Batista reversing the FU into a rear naked choke was some solid stuff we never see out of him. The finishing sequence where Batista loses it over a top rope power bomb not working and proceeds to kick Cena in the face and power bomb him again for the win was fantastic and unexpected.

Worst Match: Triple H and the Great Khali. It’s HHH and the Great Khali.

Sneaky Underrated Match: It was really fun revisiting Glammarella for the evening. Kofi was just hitting his stride and I always felt that Santino was quite underrated as a worker. Add in two of the best females of the era and this worked for me on more than just a comedy level. The comedy was also excellent.

Biggest Pop: People lose their shit for the Undertaker when he comes out.

Most Heat: Chris Jericho after legit punching Rebecca in the face.

Best Interview/Skit: I would love to give it to Santino for informing us the tabloids call them “Glammarella,” but it has to go to the Michaels segment which was just a roller coaster.

Worst Interview/Skit: Nothing stands out except the backstage views of Chavo mugging up the fact that he’s into the match. I’m convinced Chavo still having a job is a giant rib on the audience.

Best Booking: Actually doing Cena versus Batista and having Dave win round one clean.

Worst Booking: The entire HHH run of 2008 did a ton of harm. His continued presence never allowed the young guys to fully take over. He needed to get out of the picture for guys like Cena and Batista instead of being presented on their level or, most of the time, their better.

Best Attire: Santino’s unibrow. We may not be here to discuss his manscaping but it’s glorious.

Worst Attire: Jeff Hardy’s rigid, disgustiung blue hair. Also John Cena’s jorts.

Best Little Moment: I love that Mark Henry, as big as he is, wears the ECW title to the ring.

Funniest Moment: The entire presentation of Santino Marella. He’s easily the best comedy character they’ve ever had. The little looks he gives everyone, the character work it’s all flawless. The biggest pop from me though is him winning the IC title while unconscious and in pain. Perfect.

This Is Wrestling Clap Clap Clap: MVP rolling in and out with all his different submissions. They didn’t know what they lost with this guy.

Please sir, no more: Triple H as the top face. It literally worked for one night in New York and has been destroying the promotion ever since.

Biggest Botch: Not seeing the god damn writing on the wall with Khali.

3 Random Thoughts:

They decide to go with an inexplicable “Hollywood” feel despite the show being in Indianapolis.

I shouldn’t be this excited to see Mark Henry. Remember when everyone hated him???

Are they reusing the spotlights from WrestleMania 21???

Why it’s number 17: I’ve got to believe it’d be at least two or three positions higher had they just given HHH a proper opponent. This coming from someone who hates HHH. They could have also done themselves some favors by allowing Mark Henry and Matt Hardy to have an actual match. The greatness of the Michaels segment and the huge feel of the Cena/Batista feud crystallize this one for me. It was a tease. Like, “See? We can do compelling stuff!” Then giving us the Hunter Hearst Helmsley show for the next six months. It’s funny that even this far down in the list I have a hard time saying mean things about these shows. I enjoyed re-watching this one, it juts needed a couple more big matches to put it up with the big boys.

 

#16

SUMMERSLAM 95

August 27th 1995, Pittsburgh

95

All the jobbers shine,

Bret, Taker, Diesel Whine,

And a ladder match.

Total Points:891

The Matches

1. Hakushi d. The 1-2-3 Kid
RANK:   38/216                  POINTS: 179
2. Hunter Hearst Helmsley d. Bob Holly
Rank:     142/216                POINTS: 75
3, The Smoking Gunns d. The Blu Brothers
RANK:   73/216                  POINTS: 144
4. Barry Horrowitz d. Skip
RANK:   130/216                POINTS: 87
5. Bertha Faye d. Alundra Blayze (c) – WWF Women’s Title
RANK:   176/216                POINTS: 41
6. The Undertaker d. Kama – Casket Match
RANK:   183/216                POINTS: 34
7. Bret Hart d. Issac Yankem DDS
RANK:   174/216                POINTS: 43
8. Shawn Michaels (c) d. Razor Ramon – Intercontinental Title
RANK:   6/216    POINTS: 211
9. Diesel (c) d. King Mabel – WWF Title
RANK:   198/216                POINTS: 19

Commentary                     RANK:   18/27     POINTS: 10
Is it sad that the best guy on the team is Dok Hendrix who only joins us for the ladder match? Vince and Jerry are really ill matched at this point. Lawler wants to tell jokes and Vince wants to ignore them. I feel if they just worked together they’d be waaaaay better. Lawler also doesn’t let any of his jokes breathe. Like an unconfident comedian he has to follow up with a “what do you think about that,” or something of the such immediately following his punch line. Also guys, you don’t have to tell us Bertha Faye is fat. We get it. We have eyes.

Main Event                         RANK:   26/27     POINTS: 2
I expected this one to be way worse. Not that it’s good. I’d classify it as barely watchable. You certainly can’t say they’re not trying as they attempt to cut a decent pace at the start. Realistically though it’s Diesel and Mabel, who on God’s Green Earth (a film starring Steve Segal) would expect them to have a good match. There’s a spot where Mabel just sits on him and does nothing. I mean the fattest of the fat at least did nerve holds. How bad is this match that I’m actively pining for a nerve hold? The awful ref bump was only topped by a shittier flying clothesline finish. Not the worst Summerslam Main Event of all time by a hair!

Greatest Moment               RANK:   27/27     POINTS: 1
Nothing truly stands out. The ladder match was great, but not really a moment in and of itself. Perhaps had Horowitz never won before it would have won. Let’s go then with the hanging of Bret Hart. He sold it well and for a moment the god damn dentist seemed like a believable wrestling character.

Crowd                                 RANK:   5/27       POINTS: 23
They popped for everyone, which is incredible considering they were given about seventy percent jobbers. They got a huge “Rest in peace” chant going in the dreadful Undertaker match and didn’t shit on the main event. They didn’t shit on THAT main event. Well done Pittsburgh. Man, Pennsylvania really took it hard in the ass from Mabel in 1995.

Opener                                RANK:   6/27       POINTS: 22
This is exactly the right kind of match to start a show with. I don’t think anyone thought this one would be this good. Jus a fantastic fast paced match with a hot ending that really put over both guys.

Best Match: We all know by now how great the ladder matches were between Michaels and Ramon. I think I may prefer this one over the original simply for the fact that the face/heel alignments just feel right here. Sure Michaels was a great heel, but he was a stronger face and Ramon easily fell into the heel role. They played off all their old spots and really sold the viciousness of the whole match. I even like the botch at the end where Michaels is too far from the belt so he just jumps. It made sense, why wouldn’t he try and jump. Just a stellar outing from both these guys.

Worst Match: The Undertaker streak that no one talks about is broken by the main event. Sure I said it was better than I expected, but I never said it was good.

Sneaky Underrated Match: Billy Gunn may throw punches that would break his wrist on impact, but the Gunns vs the Blus was really fun. Lots of great tag moves and a fast pace made this one a lot better than I had remembered it.

Biggest Pop: Shawn Michaels’ entrance. No surprise they booked the company around him.

Most Heat: Any time Lawler gets involved in the match with the dentist. They absolutely LOATHE the man.

Best Interview/Skit: Shawn Michaels needs to win. It’s passionate and lacks all the hokeyness of his future baby face promos.

Worst Interview/Skit: There’s a lot to choose from here. I’d like to give it as a collective to all the heels who without exception all stop mid-sentence to laugh for some reason. (Vince McMahon) I want to give it to Dok Hendrix for jumping up and down like a fool and begging Mabel to tell him what he’s going to do. I REALLY want to give it to Diesel for threatening to get MEDIEVIL! It has to be Barry Dubinsky though. He spends the whole night making me want to burn the WWF merchandise factory to the ground. He legit asks if we want to bring Shawn Michaels into our homes. Barry, you’re the worst.

Best Booking: Bucking tradition and booking the face/face matchup of Ramon versus Michaels instead of Michaels versus Sid.

Worst Booking: Considering how many jobbers are on the show it’s kind of criminal they left off Lex Luger, Owen Hart, The British Bulldog, Yokozuna, Sid and even Bam Bam Bigelow off the show. Imagine the card they could have had with that talent.

Best Attire: I always dug Michaels’ blue outfit. I think they made a Jakks figure based off of it so that’s what he wore in my promotion.

Worst Attire: Again so many choices. Add a pointy hat to Hakushi and he’s easily part of the KKK. Bertha Faye’s rainbow outfit is disgusting and Yankem’s pants are the same material as the banners. This may be a bit of a stretch but it has to be Horowitz’s look they decided on for the graphics. He’s wearing a white shirt tucked in with a pocket protector and glasses. What are they going for? Nerd? Is this what Vince thinks Jewish men look like? Ridiculous.

Best Little Moment: I like Razor not giving a shit about Bret being hurt as he gets ready for his match.

Funniest Moment: Paul Bearer’s rhinoceros impression as he throws down his jacket and waddles quickly at Ted DiBiase.

This Is Wrestling Clap Clap Clap: Bret Hart’s sell of the hanging is just right. Not overdone, he just looks like a man who almost died.

Please sir, no more: Mabel. For the love of God it’s two years in a row I say this!!! Please!!!

Biggest Botch: Despite being seven feet tall Kane can’t catch Bret Hart. And you CAN teach THAT!

3 Random Thoughts:

Bob Holly actually looks like he has humanity left in him at this point.

This is the first year they don’t use the Summerslam theme and it is missed.

Michaels starts his own tradition by throwing a tantrum and screaming at Vince at ringside.

Why it’s number 16: Everything over-delivered except the main event, and the things that really sucked were inconsequential, like interviews. The real tragedy here is the card they could have had but chose not to. This is the 16th ranked Summerslam with a card full of jobbers. The jobbers actually carry the card too as Diesel, Bret and Undertaker all fail to deliver decent matches out of terrible opponents. Imagine how highly we’d rank it if they’d given Diesel and Bret Hart any of the guys they left off the card instead. Or even better had they just let them work together. I don’t think it’s crazy to say that with one or tow better matches we’re looking at a top ten Summerslam here. Hell do a Bret/Owen final blowoff, a Taker/ Bam Bam fight and have Diesel defend against Luger and I’d LOVE this card. I guess it was a better decision to leave them all off the card…

 

#15

SUMMERSLAM 2012

August 19th 2012, Los Angeles California

2012

Look sad all you want,

The people just don’t love you,

Rudolf says give up.

Total Points: 895

The Matches

1. Chris Jericho d. Dolph Ziggler
RANK:   34/216                  POINTS: 183
2. Daniel Bryan d. Kane
Rank:     77/216                  POINTS: 140
3. The Miz © d. Rey Mysterio – Intercontinental Title
RANK:   83/216                  POINTS: 134
4. Sheamus © d. Alberto Del Rio – World Heavyweight Title
RANK:   33/216                  POINTS: 184
5. R-Truth/ Kofi Kingston © d. The Prime Time Players – WWE Tag Team Titles
RANK:   134/216                POINTS: 83
6. CM Punk © d. John Cena, The Big Show – WWE Title Triple Threat Match
RANK:   158/216                POINTS: 59
7. Brock Lesnar d. Triple H
RANK:   84/216                  POINTS: 133

Commentary                     RANK: 25/27       POINTS: 3
Just Cole and Lawler. This is who they chose??? Cole is still a heel by the way. If Cole says “could win the title,” they are kicking out. Both these fools miss the exposed turnbuckle in the world heavyweight title match despite the camera lingering on it forever. All they talk about is the main event. They even just sit and read tweets from Shawn Michaels. Cole says create separation every match. It’s so hard to block them out. Stop saying Numbers game!!! The shilling of these shitty movies is just gross. Heyman NEVER said anything about HHH’s kids, he said stuff about how HHH was as a father. Cole: Lesnar’s not a superstar, he’s a BUTT kicker. Ohhhhh. These two have no chemistry. I hate Michael Cole.

Main Event                         RANK:   20/27     POINTS: 8
It’s fine but of course HHH has to undermine the whole roster by looking stronger against Lesnar than anyone. It certainly didn’t need to be as long as it was. I will give them this, them playing off the diverculitus was a smart move. A move they didn’t need to do but a smart one.

Greatest Moment               RANK:   18/27     POINTS: 10
Lesnar tapping Hunter on pure catharsis alone.

Crowd                                RANK:   19/27     POINTS: 9
They start the night off well but couldn’t give two shits about the main event. That being said they give Hunter the best send off I could have imagined so that’s go to count for something.

Opener                               RANK:   4/27       POINTS: 24
This is a fantastic opener. Jericho busts ass to make Dolph look like a million bucks. You can question Jericho going over but you can’t deny these two had great chemistry and the match was full of drama and near falls.

Best Match: I can’t believe it’s Sheamus defending against Alberto Del Rio, as I felt the feud was interminable at the time. It’s realistic, it’s stiff and it has a fun ending with Sheamus sort of cheating to win. I LOVE Del Rio in retrospect, he was truly a cut above where he was generally booked. I can get behind him kicking ANYONE in the head.

Worst Match: Why couldn’t it just be Cena versus Punk? Why did Big Show have to ruin a perfectly good match? He controls the whole fucking thing and the double tap out is just dumb. Why restart the match? Just eliminate the Big Show and let the guys who can actually wrestle do their thing? WHY?

Sneaky Underrated Match: You always expect a good outing from Mysterio but Miz more than carried his weight in this solid contest. They surprisingly have pretty great chemistry and the last 2-3 minutes of the match are legitimately very good.

Biggest Pop: Freshly minted heel CM Punk.

Most Heat: John Cena: Face of The Company.

Best Interview/Skit: Heyman: “If you ain’t down with that we got two words for you: tap out.”

Worst Interview/Skit: Kevin Rudolf singing his song while Justin Roberts, Lillian Garcia and Michael Cole dance “Hilariously.” It’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen and I’m deducting 75 points for sitting through it.

Best Booking: Brock no-sells the pedigree and taps out HHH while breaking his arm.

Worst Booking: HHH looks stronger than the rest of the roster against Lesnar. Remember how their top star John Cena couldn’t hang with Lesnar? HHH clothesline’s him out of the ring right away and gets to kick out of F5. What is the point exactly? And how can you build new stars if this half over part timer looks better than everyone?

Best Attire: Maria Menunous wins by a hair over Rey Mysterio dressed as Batman. The Bob Backlund shirt seals it.

Worst Attire: Kevin Rudolf looks like a fifty year-old dressed and dyed up to look like a teenager.

Best Little Moment: All of Brock’s body language. He elicits a huge reaction by just taking off his gloves.

Funniest Moment: The video package for Sheamus/Del Rio. As Del Rio says, “Sheamus is beneath me” we see a shot of him repeatedly slamming a car hood on Sheamus’ head. The juxtaposition made me laugh.

This Is Wrestling Clap Clap Clap: Brock Lesnar is wrestling.

Please sir, no more: HHH. Just go away. No one wants to see you beat the odds…ever.

Biggest Botch:   HHH tries really hard for the Ric Flair send off but the crowd just shits all over him chanting “you tapped out.” Call an audible and get the fuck out of there if they’re booing you.

3 Random Thoughts:

Why does Sheamus scream fella?

Even here they had no idea what to do with Cesaro…

HHH couldn’t sound more lame screaming “This isn’t UFC, welcome to the WWE!!”

Why it’s number 15: Because I deducted 75 points for the Kevin Rudolf concert. Had I not it would have finished 13th, and landed itself in the top half of this list. I had no idea at the time I deducted, but in the end I’m glad I did. That segment is everything that’s wriong with wrestling today. Trying to glob on to a moderate musical celebrity, while performing their brand of “Comedy” in the form of silly dancing while a legitimately great wrestler is winning the US title on the pre-show. It’s pure shit. It’s a shame because there’s a lot to like about this card, the opener is great, Kane has his best Summerslam match against Daniel Bryan, the IC match overachieves and we get to see the crowd shit all over Hunter’s sad face.

 

#14

SUMMERSLAM 99

August 22nd 1999, Minneapolis Minnesota

99

The Body is ref,

Mankind wins the damn title,

Inside job Jesse?

Total Points: 912

The Matches

1. Jeff Jarrett d. D-Lo Brown (c) (c) – WWF Intercontinental & European Titles
RANK:   120/216                POINTS: 97
2. The Acolytes d. Edge/Christian, The Hardy Boys, Viscera/Mideon, Droz/Albert & The Hollys – Tag Team Turmoil
Rank:     131/216                POINTS: 86
3. Al Snow d. The Big Boss Man (c) – WWF Hardcore Title
RANK:   122/216                POINTS: 95
4. Ivory (c) d. Tori – WWF Women’s Title
RANK:   181/216                POINTS: 36
5. Ken Shamrock d. Steve Blackman – Lion’s Den Weapons Match
RANK:   126/216                POINTS: 91
6. Test d. Shane McMahon – Greenwich Street Fight
RANK:   28/216                  POINTS: 189
7. The Undertaker/The Big Show d. X-Pac/Kane (c) – WWF Tag Team Titles
RANK:   110/216                POINTS: 107
8. The Rock d. Mr. Ass – Kiss My Ass Match
RANK:   133/216                POINTS: 84
9. Mankind d. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Triple H – WWF Title Triple Threat Match
RANK:   149/216                POINTS: 68

Commentary                     RANK:   6/27       POINTS: 22
JR and the King are much better than the year before here. Once you get by King’s annoying whistling at puppies and JR calling Droz a “free spirit,” you get two professionals constantly bickering as they keep up with the action. Lawler pushes JR’s buttons for talking too much about football and JR bounces back by claiming King knows nothing about Albert. It’s a fun listen. JR’s work in the “Love her or leave her,” match is fantastic as he is ADAMANT that Test needs to win for there to be justice in the world. The JR who talks about elbows “straight to the heart” is my kind of JR.

Main Event                         RANK: 25/27                      POINTS: 3
People punch and kick each other over here, and then people punch and kick each other over there. This thing had no flow and was consistently boring throughout. This is not a slight on Jesse, but when the guest ref is the best part of the match there’s a problem. It’s your typical HHH main event, get used to them…

Greatest Moment               RANK:   22/27     POINTS: 6
Not a ton to work with here so I’ll go with Jesse telling the crowd how proud he was to be a wrestler. It was ridiculous how much flak he had to take for doing something he was clearly just enjoying.

Crowd                                RANK:   10/27     POINTS: 18
Maybe it’s because it had been forever since they had a major event in Minnesota but these guys were on fire all night. They popped all night, in all the right places and gave you the impression they were watching the greatest show of all time.

Opener                                RANK:   18/27     POINTS: 10
Inevitably hurt by JJ’s “big man” offense where he punches and kicks like Hulk Hogan but is half the size. D-Lo’s spots were over as hell though and Mark Henry’s turn got some major shade from the crowd, and not just because he was standing in front of the light…

Best Match: The fact that the boss’ son who is a part-time wrestler is in the best match is a pretty stern condemnation of the show as a whole. That’s not to take away from a contest that looked like a legit fight right from the start, had tons of fun action and just the right amount of comedy to not pull focus from the overall story. They got me invested here and by the time the idiots stooges were interfering I was on board with JR screaming that Test needed to do this for Stephanie. The stakes felt high and the action was great. No brainer great match here.

Worst Match: Whelp! Looks like we’re in THIS era of women’s wrestling now… It’s not that Ivory and Tori aren’t trying it’s that nothing looks right and Tori couldn’t sell her own body at Wrestlecon. How dare JR say that Ivory’s spear was “Edge like?” That’s some balls JR. Speaking of balls what the hell was with the finish where Ivory just fell on her. What was this garbage?

Sneaky Underrated Match: If you can stomach Road Dogg’s annoying jokes the Hardcore match between Al Snow and the Boss Man is a lot of fun. I love that when they’re in the bar they have to stiff the shit out of each as to not expose the business. This would have been my match of the night had one of them grinded the ground glass from the floor into the other’s eyes or genitals.

Biggest Pop: Test winning. A TESTament to how strong the story was. I’m so sorry I did that.

Most Heat: After they had cheered for him, Chris Jericho gets a rain of boos after claiming that DX sucked. He’s 100% correct here though. Just to be clear.

Best Interview/Skit: The Rock bullies Michael Cole and asks if he’s comme-ci/comme-ca. I’ll be honest here any time someone bullies or hurts Cole it’s going to win here.

Worst Interview/Skit: HHH very forced: “I’ll break all the rules you make,” nonsense at the start. We get it… you’re a bad ass… do you need to try and spend the next sixteen years convincing your wife?

Best Booking: Getting Jesse to be part of the event in any way.

Worst Booking: Not doing Austin/HHH straight up. That was the match that needed to happen at this time.

Best Attire: I love Kane’s “Road” jersey. The black looked bad-ass.

Worst Attire: I wanted it to either be Viscera’s long ass coat, or Road Dogg in his white Wal-Mart special or even HHH with his wavy chains highlighted by Chyna’s surgeries, but at the end of the day it’s simply Big Show’s hair braid. He looked like more of a monster with his hair down and you purposely made him look like a word I’m not allowed to use any more.

Best Little Moment: Taker gets fed up with The Big Show’s inability to pin Pac so he furiously tags himself in and destroys him himself.

Funniest Moment: Everything to do with the Mean Street Posse. They come out in Hawaiian shirts, they sit on a couch which ever-so-slowly tips over unto them. They hand Shane a Mean Street mailbox as well as a framed picture of them. It’s just so satisfying to see clowns get beat up.

This Is Wrestling Clap Clap Clap: The Stooges making the save is what wrestling is all about.

Please sir, no more: This incarnation of the women’s division.

Biggest Botch: Earl Hebner had to try REALLY hard not to see The Big Show use a low blow. He flipped his head the other way for Christ’s sake.

3 Random Thoughts:

As legitimately happy as Jesse looked to be there, I wish he just would have done commentary.

Logic and naming would state that this should work but Ken Shamrock shouldn’t wear green.

Is this the only time Steph’s ever shown vulnerability on camera? Is it also her best storyline?

Why it’s number 14: If there’s a flaw in this whole project it’s that 1999 finished as high as it did. The one, along with 2006 and 2007 are the Summerslams I’d be fine with never seeing again. Everything is mediocre across the board, and while the women’s match is bad, it never reaches “Undertaker at Summerslam” levels of bad. 1999 was a pretty rough in-ring year in general and we should probably be happy that this is what we got. Let’s enjoy this card for the Test match and commentary and ignore the fact that it just undermined the whole project.

Thanks for reading! Keep an eye out for Part 3 coming soon! Yay Science!

If you enjoyed this romp through Summerslams please follow me @aarondgeorge

If you hated this and want to scream at me please do so @aarondgeorge

Author: Aaron George

Aaron is a classically trained Shakespearean actor by day who fulfils his culture quotient by watching wrestling by night. He has two sons a great wife and once explored the sewers in his hometown.